Skydiver Collision: Two Jumpers Die After Midair Crash in Arizona

Wednesday, 04 Dec 2013 06:40 PM

By Ken Mandel

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A midair skydiver collision killed two jumpers Tuesday in Arizona.

The victims were identified Wednesday as Keiron O'Rourke, 40, of the United Kingdom, and Bernd Schmehl, 51, of Germany. They crashed while jumping at Skydiver Arizona at Eloy Municipal Airport.

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Witnesses told ABC News that the skydivers had open parachutes when they collided about 200 to 300 feet above the ground. Their canopies collapsed and they rapidly dropped to the ground.

Schmehl died at the scene and O'Rourke died at Casa Grande Regional Medical Center, police told ABC News.

The men were part of a 200-member group, and the cause of the crash is being investigated. Schmehl had made 1,707 career jumps while O'Rourke had 849 under his belt, Jerome said.

A third, unidentified diver was also injured separately.

On Wednesday, the group of 200 experienced jumpers planned to return to the Arizona skies to pursue world records.

"This is one of those things we have to face with the sport, the chance of injury," skydiver Andrew Barker told USA Today.

The contingent of divers descended on Eloy with a goal of setting as many world sequential records as possible by Friday.

Over the weekend, 63 women set the world record for a female vertical formation skydiving record when they joined hands from a jump at 18,000 feet above Eloy.

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